Gila River Indian Community to Drive Back Salt Cedar

The upper Gila River. Photo by James Hatten, USGS.

The Gila River Indian Community Council in September approved plans to reclaim an 80- to 100-square-mile section of the Gila River and floodplain from invasive salt cedar, or tamarisk.

Removing invasive salt cedar reduces the risk of wildfires, but it also offers a chance to restore native plants and wildlife.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Gila River Indian Community to Restore River Habitat

The Potential Human Cost of Waiting For Perfect Self-Driving Cars

As companies like Waymo ramp up tests of their self-driving cars in Phoenix, state and federal officials continue to debate when “good” will be “good enough.”

Now, a report from the RAND Corporation says pumping our brakes and holding out for the perfect automated car is a mistake.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Waiting For Perfect Self-Driving Cars Could Cost Lives

The Prickly Business of Cactus Classification

Photo by J. Wallner, NPS.

Researchers have found a genetic pattern in the saguaro and its cousins that could explain why many cactus species resist simple classification.

Plants like the cactus are tricky. Distant relatives can look like twins or evolve similar traits, thanks to phenomena like parallel and convergent evolution, both of which entail species evolving the same traits independently of one another.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Saguaro Genome Shows Why Many Cactus Species Are Hard To Classify

Report: U.S. Fire Seasons are Only Getting Worse

Red Canyon wildfire at night. Photo courtesy of inciweb.nwcg.gov.

Bigger, hotter wildfires — and more of them — are becoming the new normal, and a combination of climate change, sub-par fire management and budget limitations are to blame, says an October 2017 National Wildlife Federation report.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Why U.S. Wildfires Are Bigger, Hotter And More Frequent

Writing • Editing • Commentary